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Maryland Chamber of Commerce names new leader


Brien Poffenberger

The Maryland Chamber of Commerce announced Tuesday that Brien Poffenberger, the current president of the Hagerstown-Washington County Chamber of Commerce, will serve as the next chamber president and CEO.

Poffenberger will take the post on June 16. He will lead a 12-person staff at the Maryland Chamber, a nonprofit with 750 member businesses.

The outgoing president, Kathy Snyder, will retire in June after leading the chamber for more than 14 years.

The incoming president said he has not yet created a full plan of action, but his immediate goal is to continue the Maryland Competitiveness Coalition, a network of 60 organizations that aims to strengthen ties between the state government and the business community. His prior experience has prepared him for the role, he said.

“I certainly have a perspective of Maryland that encompasses the entire state,” said Poffenberger. “If you think about my job now, part of it is to project the brand of Washington County outward. … A big part of my job has always been to keep an eye and keep a sort of antenna up for things going on in other parts of the state.”

Poffenberger has led the Hagerstown-Washington Chamber for 10 years. Before that, he was the director of the Small Business Development Center in Fauquier County, Virginia. He has also worked under U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md.

“I’ve worked in a chamber for 10 years, and while the scale is different … a lot of the day-in and day-out executions of what we do is the same,” he said.

Experiences in the private sector have also given him an understanding of the business community, said Poffenberger.

He lives in Sharpsburg, in Western Maryland, but plans to relocate to Annapolis. His family has lived in Washington County since the 1730s, Poffenberger said, but he chose to move so he could commit fully to his new job.

Poffenberger will share duties with the outgoing chamber president for two weeks until Snyder retires. The two have been friends for a long time, he said, as fellow members of Maryland’s chamber community.